It's March already, the period of the vagaries of the weather, which is even more conducive to falling ill with the respiratory tract, even called seasonal. Who of us did not have problems with hoarseness or coughing at that time? So let's briefly consider the most common diseases of the larynx, trachea and bronchi, before their discussion with a handful of important data on their structure and operation.
The throat is separated from the larynx by a mobile cartilaginous valve, called epiglottis. It tightly closes the larynx while swallowing bites of food and sips of liquid, which go to the esophagus just above it, starting outside the larynx. The so-called. choking is nothing else, like the violent expulsion of food particles in a defensive cough reflex, which fell under the epiglottis into the larynx between the vocal cords. It is almost always a "punishment" for talking or laughing while eating! Sometimes (when the stray bite is significant and gets stuck in or below the larynx, in the trachea) it ends in death by suffocation! It is the last chance of salvation: 1) we immediately grab the poor man from behind with our entire upper limbs and clasp the hands from the front at the level of the stomach, 2) very energetic (co 2-3 sec) squeezing the victim's chest. It is best to do this "pumping" while standing suffocating, and if the choke was in a semi-recumbent position (meal at the hunting position, on the grass) – face down and perform a vigorous squeeze on the chest with the same grip. This treatment causes a column of air to be pushed out of the lungs rapidly through the trachea and larynx, and fortunately it is often enough to push the bite out.! Of course, the same asphyxiation mechanism occurs in a drowned man, except that the place of a bite of food is taken by seaweed or just water. So it is obvious, that the most important rescue action is to clear the nose, the mouth and throat from the so-called. "Weed" (with the fingers of the hand, tweezers or tweezers – which should be included in the set of fishing equipment). Larynx, located just under the skin, easily undergoes direct cooling (Caution: wear a turtleneck or a jacket with a collar buttoned up under the chin). Like the throat, harms the larynx – and especially the vocal cords located therein – speaking loudly and intensely in the wind or frost, especially in dry air. This leads to inflammation quite often, the main symptom of which is hoarseness of varying degrees of voicelessness and hoarseness, until utter silence. It is caused by inflammatory hyperemia (like "burning throat"), swelling of the mucosa and mucus discharge, which damage the precision of structure and function of the vocal cords. There is pain when swallowing, and squeezing the larynx with your fingers can be painful. The same symptoms occur with pharyngitis and tonsillitis, but the pain is located "deeper", under the lower jaw. Dramatic cases of diphtheria (the so-called. croup or diphtheria or membranous, very dense discharge -today, thanks to vaccinations, it does not occur in Poland) can be fatal by suffocation. The only emergency is to "make a hole and insert a tube into it" in the trachea, just below the larynx, using anything sharp (scissors arm, screwdriver, pocket knife). I already know, what reaction it caused in colleagues. I do not wish anyone, that we ever find ourselves in such a situation and… necessity, and at the same time I assure you, that the so-called. ordinary people (in the restaurant, cafes, cinema or… over the water) more than once they saved the lives of others in this way, before… medical assistance arrived. This happened most often in cases of stings(!) by a bee or wasp, that got around the epiglottis or the entrance to the larynx during… eating ice cream or drinking sweet liquid, without eye control or while riding a motorcycle or bicycle and breathing with an open mouth. Professionally, this procedure is called TRACHEOTOMY (in Polish: tracheal-incision). Into the hole made (see picture) just insert a 4-5 cm piece, e.g.. plastic tube, without worrying about the slight bleeding from the cut skin. It is a life saver! Tube diameter (also e.g.. metal) should be 5-8 mm.
The treatment of "inflammatory" hoarseness is reduced to the use of an antibiotic (due to the presence of bacteria), aspirin, thinning and expectorant drugs: phlegamina, ambroxol, bisolvan, along with plenty of warm liquids. Moreover, silence is necessary(!) or speaking in a whisper.
Below the larynx is the trachea – flexible cartilage-muscular tube in diameter 25-30 mm and a length of approx 130-160 mm. It splits into two main bronchi, and these are divided into lobes and dozens of smaller ones. The mucosa lining the trachea and bronchi is covered with the so-called. cilia. They are able to make active movements, shifting the mucous discharge upwards, to the larynx and pharynx. Thanks to them, we expectorate the excess secretion produced in inflammatory conditions.
Caution! A big warning here! It is the cigarette smoke that paralyzes and causes the death of the cilia in the trachea and bronchi, which leads to… smoker suffocation with his own mucus, lingering throughout the respiratory tract. This is called "chronic bronchitis", very often infected, and therefore purulent! The life of such a person must be shortened. The choice is entirely ours! The last element of the respiratory system are alveoli that gather around the thinnest bronchioles into large clusters, called lobules, forming the lobes of the lungs (usually 3 on the right and 2 on the left). It is right here, in the alveoli which are very richly supplied with blood, the main breathing process takes place – the so-called. gas exchange.
A few words about the inflammation of the trachea and bronchi, usually caused by bacteria (less often viruses): fever over 37,5, cough – dry and painful at first, then wet and "tearing off" – these are commonly known symptoms. Usually there is no hoarseness of laryngitis. Any bronchitis must be treated seriously, to prevent chronic or bronchopneumonia!
The treatment is very similar to the treatment of laryngitis: the correct antibiotic is necessary by 7-10 days, drugs that thin and help expectorate secretions, with plenty of fluids necessary to facilitate the thinning of the mucus. Medical follow-up is highly recommended, and even necessary, if the cough persists for more than two weeks (photo of the lungs) or a hoarse (ENT examination). I warn against various "home" treatments for "cough."” as worthless or insufficient (e.g.. aliophile, amol, milk with honey and butter or vodka with juice or much more). Neither of these methods addresses the cause of the disease, and if used longer, it postpones the appropriate treatment without significant success, exposing the patient to serious complications and consequences.